Not too many people are aware of the difference, but there is a noticeable difference between how cabinets can be built. The more popular way is framed. The European way is frameless.
Framed cabinetry refers to cabinets built with a face frame. Horizontal rails and vertical stiles frame the front of the cabinet box providing rigidity and stabilizing the box construction. The unfortunate character of framed cabinets is the limited amount of cabinet space that is taken up by the face frame. Sometimes if there is a vertical stile down the center of a wide cabinet, it limits the opening to allow for large dishes to fit. Also, if boxes are weak, say from being built of particleboard or unsturdy material, having a face frame is important and necessary to hold them together for stability.
Frameless cabinetry, also known as European cabinetry, differs from framed in the fact that there is no face frame. Thicker side panels keep the cabinet rigid and stable without the use of a face frame. Frameless cabinets are ideal for many reasons. Since there are no horizontal rails and vertical stiles obstructing the fronts of the cabinets, there is a larger opening when placing dishes and such inside. Drawers are also wider which is usually very advantageous to customers.
We, at New Life Bath & Kitchen, have primarily used framed cabinets over the years, but recent introductions to frameless cabinets have given us an open mind as both seem to be great products.
As long as the boxes are built strong and durable, framed and frameless are fairly compatible. Framed are typically less expensive than frameless, so depending on the customer's expectations, we can make anything work within a budget. Learn more about our custom cabinet solutions here.